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Practitioners should give the following information and instructions to patients receiving barbiturates.
“Sleep Driving” and other complex behaviors
There have been reports of people getting out of bed after taking a sedative-hypnotic and driving their cars while not fully awake, often with no memory of the event. If a patient experiences such an episode, it should be reported to his or her doctor immediately, since “sleep driving” can be dangerous. This behavior is more likely to occur when sedative-hypnotics are taken with alcohol or other central nervous depressants (see WARNINGS). Other complex behaviors (e.g. preparing and eating food, making phone calls, or having sex) have been reported in patients who are not fully awake after taking a sedative-hypnotic. As with sleep-driving, patients usually do not remember these events.
The use of barbiturates carries with it an associated risk of psychological and/or physical dependence. The patient should be warned against increasing the dose of the drug without consulting a physician.
Barbiturates may impair mental and/or physical abilities required for the performance of potentially hazardous tasks, such as driving or operating machinery.
Alcohol should not be consumed while taking barbiturates. Concurrent use of the barbiturates with other CNS depressants, including other sedatives or hypnotics, alcohol, narcotics, tranquilizers, and antihistamines, may result in additional CNS depressant effects.
Last reviewed on RxList: 10/19/2007
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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